In 2009 BC Liberals proportionately outspent 2008 Obama campaign – IntegrityBC

(Victoria, Thursday, 17 November 2011) – Barack Obama has nothing on the BC Liberals when it comes to campaign spending, according to an estimate released today by IntegrityBC.

Relying on US Federal Election Commission (FEC) figures, IntegrityBC estimates that the 2008 Obama campaign cost $5.10 per registered voter compared to the $5.54 per voter spent by the BC Liberals in 2009.

While attempts at cross-jurisdictional analyses are difficult due to different reporting requirements, IntegrityBC erred on the side of the Liberals in its estimate by not including that party’s 2008 spending, even though FEC figures cover Obama’s 2007 campaign expenses, spending for the primaries and the presidential race itself.

According to IntegrityBC, observers may quibble over a cent here or a registered voter there in the estimate, but the numbers point to a far more worrisome trend in BC politics.

“The comparison may seem a little cute, but with the emergence of perpetual campaigns British Columbians should worry about the potential consequences of disproportionate spending by any one political party over another between elections,” said IntegrityBC executive director Dermod Travis. “Because candidate Obama reconfirmed one truism about politics: money wins elections.”

Some US experts believe that the fundraising and spending juggernaut unleashed by the Obama campaign permanently changed the rules for future US presidential campaigns. Josh Israel of the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Public Integrity contends that “the unbelievable outspending by the Obama campaign tilted the playing field enormously.”

It’s why IntegrityBC released the Obama-BC Liberals comparison and an accompanying video as part of its “Who really runs BC?” campaign which it launched in October.

The organization is calling for a ban on corporate and union funding of political parties, a cap on personal donations and a Citizen’s Assembly to study and make binding recommendations on additional electoral finance reforms.

Its new online video – “What’s wrong with this picture?” – has been posted to IntegrityBC’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/integritybc

A section of the organization’s website (www.integritybc.ca) is devoted to the issue of electoral finance reform including an online petition, downloadable posters, a brochure, backgrounder and an extensive resource centre with additional reports, surveys, court judgements and videos.

IntegrityBC is a non-partisan organization championing accountability and integrity in BC politics. By empowering British Columbians, IntegrityBC hopes to change politics in BC letting citizens regain their trust in government.

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For more information:

Dermod Travis, Executive Director

250-590-5126